A Federal Government Worker Was Abusive to Me

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Unlike the provincial government, the federal government (Government of Canada) does not have an Ombudsperson overseeing all federal departments. Some federal government ministries, departments or agencies such as Canada Post, do have an Ombudsperson, but others only have an informal process for handling complaints.

First steps[edit]

If you have a complaint against a federal government worker, you should follow these steps:

  1. Make notes of the names of the officials you dealt with, their actions and the relevant dates.
  2. Keep copies of all relevant documents.
  3. If your complaint is about a decision, get reasons for the decision.
  4. Contact Service Canada at 1-800-622-6232. Have a pen and paper ready, because they only give information by phone.
  5. Tell the Service Canada agent that you want to make a complaint, and give them the name of the ministry, department or agency. The Service Canada agent will give you a phone number, website address and other information about how to make a complaint about that particular office.

What happens next[edit]

Depending on the office you are complaining about, you should receive some form of response from them within a reasonable period of time. If you don’t, you may wish to refer the complaint to your Member of Parliament. Service Canada can give you the name and contact information for your Member of Parliament.

Where to get help[edit]

See the Resource List for a list of helpful resources. Your best bets are:

  • Service Canada, where staff can provide contact information to make a complaint about a worker in a federal government ministry or agency.
  • Your local MP (Member of Parliament) may also be willing to help you with your complaint against a federal public agency. Call Service Canada at 1-800-622-6232 for contact information for your MP.
  • Access Pro Bono, Lawyer Referral Service, and private bar lawyers.

Before meeting with a lawyer or advocate, complete the form Preparing for Your Interview included in this Guide. Make sure you bring copies of all documents relating to your case.

This information applies to British Columbia, Canada. Last reviewed for legal accuracy by Neil Chantler, April 2017.

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 Canada Licence Legal Help for British Columbians © Cliff Thorstenson and Courthouse Libraries BC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 Canada Licence.